I went for a walk today.
The idea is that exercise, fresh air, change of scene would ease the stress and - yes I will say it - chronic depression I've been feeling.
Part of my route took me past the playground on the village green. The playground where I used to take my girls when they were small. I'd sit on the bench watching them, or stand at the bottom of the slide with my arms spread. I'm not sure if the latter was for their benefit or mine.
As I walked past, I found myself hearing the laughter, the squeals of pleasure, the "just one more Daddy, pleeeeeease"es. I found myself wondering how, where those years had gone.
My girls are adults now. Approaching the end of their studies. They need me less and less and that is as it should be.
However nobody told me that as they need you less and less, you need them more and more. You need the simplicity, the unconditional love, the unadulterated and uncomplicated fun. You need the cuddles, the kisses, the 'I love you's that come not as a reply, a conditioned reflex, but just come because they do. I'm not saying they don't.
But it's not the same.
I walked past the playground and found my walk wasn't as theraputic as I'd hoped. But then I realised something.
Sadness is not the same as depression.
In the end, I will take consolation in the fact that the memories of those days will carry me forward and, I hope, carry them forward too. I hope they will be able to look back at them and smile.
As I am trying SO hard to do right now.